The fairy-tale landscape of the Loire Valley is known for its fine wines, but with a landscape so vast and bountiful, it can be hard to pick the good from the great. Drinking wine amongst the castles and the green is a pleasure only some can experience in the flesh, but the flavour of a certain vintage can transport you anywhere. You just need to know which one to pick. Here is a look at this exquisite region.
The Loire Valley is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc, which hails mostly from the areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire, located in the Upper Loire. The wine from this area is sharp and fruity, with a crisp aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. Many are perfect when paired with light meals or as an appetiser before a large event. This variety does not particularly reap the benefits of age, and can be enjoyed while still young and tart. Fantastic Sauvignon blanc from the Upper Loire region can be found in many wineries of the area; Pascal Jolivet, Alphonse Mellot and Domaine Gérard Boulay to name a few.
The Sencerre has been heralded for its flinty taste and is much sought-after as the luxury wine of choice in the Loire. Coming from the long-time centre of French resistance, this fruity sensation has hints of peach, the slightest sting of lime, and an overall floral feel to its smoothness. It is perfectly paired with goat’s cheese from around the area, and complements grilled or roasted chicken, turkey, salmon or trout.
The Pouilly-Fumé is a pure sauvignon blanc with a long history, dating back to the Gallo-Roman estate of the fifth century. The sibling to the Sencerre, this sauvignon blanc can turn the tables for many drinkers. If you unsure about your taste in white wines, the Pouilly-Fumé can guide you through its expressive, sharp flavours and balanced umami. Another wine that does not need to age, you can pick this up anywhere along the hills of the Upper Loire.
To the southeast of Nantes comes the Muscadet Sèvre, an area named after the meeting of two beautiful rivers; the Sèvre Nantaise and the Petite Maine. Muscadet is the most heavily produced wine in the entire Valley, made from the popular Melon de Bourgogne grape. Light with notes of citrus, the beloved Muscadet is known for being bone-dry. It goes excellently with crab quiche, a local specialty, along with spicy greens like rocket and a sprinkling of nuts.